HEY GUYS!!! There’s something on my heart right now that I would really like to share with you all. There comes a time when our independence becomes almost…unappealing. It’s a time when your love for your family and the love for your home really comes out and you can’t help but long for them. Its a time when our pride gets pushed aside and all we want is to be at home again where there were no problems and no worries. That time has hit me sooner than I had thought, and I miss my family.
College is full of stress and full of business. Sometimes I fell like I’m ALWAYS on the go and have no time to myself to just relax. This really gives me an appreciation for the life I had back home that I took for granted. Some things I had then, that are now an entire state away, really pull on my heart strings and now I really miss them. The biggest thing I miss right now is by far my three little sisters.
I don’t know what your relationship is like with your siblings, if you have any, but I love my sisters more than anything in the world. My sisters names are Abigail, Izabel, and Porsche (10 years old, 8 years old, and 4 years old). Being without them has really shown me a lot of things I have taken for granted and really underestimated the amount of my life that they took up. We’ve always been really close but now that I’m so far away from them, I can really see how much they really meant to me. And now that they’re getting older, getting more social and having more peers in their lives it scares me knowing that their friends are impacting them more than I am. I want to show them Christ and His love but I’m afraid they won’t see that in their lives now that I’m not there. And it isn’t just my sisters that I miss but there’s a lot of things about my home that really suck to be without.
I just want you guys to know that sometimes we lose God’s gifts and forget God’s in the process of following God’s plan. And now that I’m in college, separated from my family, I can see the times God blessed me and I didn’t take notice, or I was given a gift from God I wasn’t aware of. I just pray that we, as a school, really take in the value of our families, and of God’s love, and really try not to forget the things that are important instead of getting lost in the future that isn’t even here yet. We have priorities right here and now that we cannot look past that we need to give to God and ask Him to work on, and that He works on those things through us, as Christians. That thing is my family and that’s what’s on my heart right now.
This last weekend my paradigm was shifted from cool, fall weather consisting of scarves, boots, and pumpkins to a distant land far, far away filled with sunshine, shades, and desert. I was ready for a mental break, for a shift of gears. I was ready to set aside the college chaos for a weekend and allow my mind to take in something fresh and new.
Arizona is quite different from the epic state of Kansas. It contains a beauty that is quite unique, consisting of cacti, palm trees, red rock, and mountains. My man and I took off for this spectacular place for his daddio’s wedding. We were stoked, not only just to hang out with the Anderson clan, but also to show our support and excitement of a union between a wonderful man and a wonderful woman, both whom honor and love the Lord. The entire weekend was a laugh fest as people simply enjoyed each other’s company, and I was welcomed with open arms to be a part of this family and their celebration as if I had always been. Let’s just say, it was most definitely worth the trip. #realtalk
If we look hard enough, there are examples of redemption all over the place. As fall begins, I am reminded that the leaves will begin to turn and fall, plants will begin to wither and fade, and the cold will soon begin. Snow and the long winter will eventually set in and before we know it all green will cease. Yet, spring will surely come as it has always come, and the new will spring up and flourish. This weekend, as well as this season, is yet another reminder to me of how beautiful it is that God allows us to shed off the old and take on the new. Time and time again the opportunity is provided to become something new, something fresh—a redeemed being. We are never to a point where this opportunity is taken away because it is something not based upon our performance or character, but is something based completely on the character of our Lord—SOLID. We are not bound by our former selves unless we so choose to be bound. This freedom we crave is ours so long as we simply accept it. How beautiful it was to witness a picture of this as I saw a man so filled with love and joy as he awaited his beautiful bride, and as I saw a couple stand before us and commit their lives to each other before the Lord.
Hey Guys!! What’s up? How’s your week going? I don’t know why I’m asking you questions, you can’t respond! Anyway, this week has been stressful for me. It’s all been work, work, work, sleep, work, work, eat, work, sleep, work. Sometimes I feel like there is no time to myself or to just get away and relax. But then there’s that time of week when my stress level goes down drastically. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are the three days a week that I just stop what I’m doing and have fellowship with some friends.
Fridays I have a small group bible study with a couple of my friends, Tuesday nights I have a small group for guys, and then Wednesdays I attend Kairos. These groups are a huge part of my week. I feel like I have a little taste of my Sabbath in every one of them. Are you involved in a small group of some sort? Yes? No? Well you should be! Small groups, or even big groups, are a vital part of fellowship and really help you grow through your faith. Why should we have only one Sabbath day a week dedicated to relaxing and just resting? Why not have Sabbath moments throughout the week as well?
I urge you guys to join a small group, whether it’s one of MNU’s organized small groups or even just a small group of friends getting together and studying God’s word. Groups like Kairos are also an excellent way to just have time together and fellowship. These are all an awesome part of my college experience. Whether you are already a student at MNU or even a future Pioneer looking into joining a small group is one easy step to developing a healthy college experience, and it’s a great way to further develop your relationship with God. So just ask around about small groups or even start one with your friends. I promise you won’t regret it.
This morning we had the privilege of listening to Cris Zimmermann speak about his ministry in Frankfurt, Germany. This young pastor began sharing with us a book he has been reading as of late called God is Not a Christian written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In this book the Archbishop shares of a crucifix he found in a church in which Jesus had no arms or legs. The meaning behind it was that, as the church, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. That, as his disciples, we are to be the answer to the world’s begging question, “Where is God?”
As he began to speak he commanded my respect. He spoke with no words of eloquence or brilliance. He wasn’t beaming with charisma in which everyone was drawn to him. Nor did he command attention because of his long list of credentials or accomplishments. Rather, he commanded my respect because of his simple perusal of making this man on a cross relevant to our current world.
It all began with a group of 12 college students in Frankfurt. Together with Zimmermann, they began to brainstorm ideas on how they could be the hands and feet of Jesus in their own city. A specific pub was brought to their attention where a consistent community of people gathered regularly, not just to have a drink, but also to simply be together. Zimmermann and the students began to integrate themselves into this community, and after collaborating with the owner, began raising money with them to build a well in Africa. The pub family included, they began reaching out to the homeless community in the area as well and started establishing relationships with them. From there, other pubs began to get involved and the influence of the once small group began to grow and grow, involving people of all kinds.
It’s easy to look at the task ahead and be intimidated. To allow the fear that so easily creeps in to keep us from even taking a step. We become so taken back by our responsibility to be truth to the world that we can’t even be truth to the few people surrounding us. The fathers of the faith, the very apostles who walked on the ground that Jesus did, had to start somewhere. At some point, they had to acknowledge that they didn’t have what it takes to be his heirs to the kingdom. Yet, with the breath of Christ within us, we are given the means to be the truth, the salt, the light, that is so very necessary to this world. There is no better time than now to begin to get ourselves out of the way so that this purpose can be fulfilled in our lives. May we begin to allow Jesus take root in our daily interactions with people and may we find the courage to take the baby steps that are necessary for any sort of change to occur. As Dorothy Day puts it, “People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words, and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do.”
HEY GUYS!! I have come across an idea! I have officially been inspired! Last night I went to a concert in KC that really impacted me and I would like to share my joy with all you guys. So I saw For King and Country, Jason Castro, Dara Maclean, and Heavens to Betsy perform live and are all now officially on tour driving from coast to coast. Well this was pretty exciting to me for multiple reason: This is my first show I’ve seen since I’ve been here at MNU, and it was the first show of these guys’ tour (Proof of Your Love Tour) and they’re all pretty well known; Jason Castro was actually a competitor on American Idol; For King and Country and Dara Maclean are on K-Love all the time; Heavens to Betsy was a group of some amazingly musically talented guys. They all had amazing performances and had some very unique styles about each and every one of them.
Now what inspired me wasn’t the performance, it wasn’t their musical talent, and it wasn’t even necessarily the message they had shared between the songs with us. What inspired me was that here were some people who loved what they were doing; they loved worshiping God and sharing their stories with the world. This shows me that God takes what we love, He takes our hopes, our talents, He takes our dreams and our aspirations, and He makes them into something phenomenal that works for His kingdom. This is awesome to me because I know God can use me. God can take me, mold me, and make me into something awesome using nothing other than myself.
At MNU we are focusing this year on the “Kingdom Within.” That God’s kingdom is inside each and every one of us. This inspiration I found ties in with that. God’s heaven on earth is in our dreams and our hopes. So what dreams and hopes do you have? What talents and skills did God give you to use for His glory? Take what inspires you and use your talents to then inspire others. Once we do that, once we take our aspirations and give them to God and say “this is for you father,” is when we will truly become part of the Kingdom that God has for us! So don’t be afraid to be dorky sometimes, or to sing even if you don’t know how. Don’t be afraid to finally pick up that paint brush and teach yourself to paint like you’ve always said you wanted to. Just don’t be afraid to run for your dreams, because it’s through your dreams where God’s inspiration truly springs.
There is something quite unique about being in a completely new environment. Everything known before is shifted, and every interaction, every detail, every moment is filled with learning. In no other place does it become so clear to you that your only consistency is the Lord, and in no other place are you able to find a mind clear enough to fully examine yourself.
Studying abroad in Europe this summer was the trip of a lifetime. The memories I was able to make in that beautiful place will never be forgotten. Whether it was train rides, long walks in the country, thousand-year old churches, intentional conversation, hiking in the Alps, walking through palaces, eating at street-side cafés, exploring museums, or running in rain, these moments created such a beautiful experience for me. I am so thankful for having had the opportunity to broaden my horizons and take on a new adventure.
Obviously, Europe is freaking cool, but in life, be the one who’s willing to risk and to take on the new challenge. As the Swiss always say, “No Risk, No Fun.”
Today is my very first post of many to come! I am so excited to get to share with you all a glimpse of what my life looks like throughout this coming year!
I guess an introduction is in order… Kelsey Rae Cranford is my name and I am a junior here at good ol’ MidAmerica. I am studying Sociology and Psychology and have yet to discover what to do with all that yet. Regardless, I absolutely love what I’m learning and love how it challenges me every day. I’m from Manhattan, KS, and have the most amazing family I could ever ask for—two sisters who bring the hilarity and parents who model true love every day. I am no one extraordinary, but simply a young woman who is learning how to love the Lord. I love me some people time, especially deep, intentional conversation. I love being outside, especially on sunny days with a high of 75 or really any day within spring or fall. Music inspires me and if I had the time during the semester I would read more (I’m not talking textbooks). The people who are most important to me are those who challenge me. I am that person who laughs at everybody else’s jokes but has no one laugh at mine. People-watching is a hobby of mine as well as scaring people when the opportunity so presents itself. And lastly, I have 11 cavities. Real talk.
All in all, I am so stoked for all that is to come and to give you a peak into MidAmerica life! Welcome to my reality!